(Moscow) President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev have reached an agreement to "reset" U.S - Russian relations. In a joint press conference in Moscow, the two men announced agreements on nuclear arms treaties and future work on missile defense, but also made it clear this is a new beginning to U.S.-Russian relations.
" We have agreed that we will continue to communicate further on," President Medvedev said. "In reality for our relations it is very important and it is not a simple job because the backlog of problems is quite impressive."
For his part, Obama said the two men are leaving behind the rivalry of the past. "Today we've made meaningful progress and demonstrated through means and words what a more constructive U.S. Russian relationship can look like in the 21st century."
Two major sticking points before the Monday meetings and press conference, missile defense and START, were both discussed with each side vowing to work towards an end where each was pleased with the outcome, but perhaps more interesting was that President Medvedev acknowledged the issues Russia has with nuclear arms has very little to do with the United States.
"There are negative trends in the world and they are due to the emergence of new nuclear players. Some of them are not officially members of the nuclear club but they have aspirations to have nuclear weapons and declare so openly," Medvedev said. "Or, which is worse, doing it clandestinely, which of course has a very negative bearing on the world."
President Obama said he is also worried about North Korea and Iran, especially the pace of development of potential nuclear weapons. "We are seeing a pace of potential proliferation that we have not seen in quite some time," Obama said. "There is deep concern about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons capability, not simply because of one country wanting nuclear weapons but the fact that if Iran obtained nuclear weapons it is almost certain the other countries in the region would then decide to pursue their own programs and we would then see a nuclear arms race in perhaps the most volatile part of the world."
And the American President reminded Medvedev how the two nations have gotten through tough times before. "Part of what got us through the cold war is a sense of parity and deterrent capability that both sides understood that a first strike could result in an extremely heavy price," Obama said.